In this New York Times bestseller, Anna Whiston-Donaldson unfolds a mothers story of loss that leads, in time, to enduring hope.
On an ordinary September day, twelve-year-old Jack is swept away in a freak neighborhood flood. His parents and younger sister are left to wrestle with the awful questions: How could God let this happen? And, Can we ever be happy again? They each fall into the abyss of grief in different ways. And in the days and months to come, they each find their faltering way toward peace.
With this unforgettable account of a familys love and longing, Anna will draw you deeper into a divine goodness that keeps usbeyond all earthly circumstancessafe. This is a book about facing impossible circumstances and wanting to turn back the clock. It is about the flicker of hope in realizing that in times of heartbreak, God is closer than your own skin. It is about discovering that youre braver than you think.
Anna Whiston-Donaldson is a popular blogger at An Inch of Gray. A graduate of James Madison University and Wake Forest University, she taught high school English for six years before becoming a full-time mom and writer. She lives with her husband, Tim, and daughter, Margaret, in suburban Washington, DC.
"Profound, tender, honestand utterly unforgettable."
Gretchen Rubin, author of #1 New York Times bestseller, The Happiness Project
"Will touch every reader who picks it up."
"In this powerful debut memoir, blogger Whiston-Donaldson tells the tragic storyof the death of her 12-year-old son Jack. The author is an emotionally insightful guide to the territory of grief. She notes the relationship of grief and shame, the comforts and sorrows of sex, and the hideous fights between bereaved parents. From its disarming opening sentence ("I thought the first book Id write would be about painting furniture"), the book avoids sentimentality. The book is well pacedthe reader knows from the start that the authors child is dead, but doesnt know precisely how he dies for some chaptersand is underpinned by a steady drumbeat of faith, as Whiston-Donaldson negotiates a new relationship with God after Jacks death. She feels deeply loved by God, "almost as if Im wrapped in a soft, cotton batting," but she is also "disappointed and hurt... and the only broken body I can picture right now is Jacks." Whiston-Donaldsons compelling account belongs on the shelf next to Richard Lischers Stations of the Heart."
"In her beautiful, clear-eyed prose Anna brings to life complex miracles: that the anchor of being strong is tied to feelings of unbearable weakness; that the ache of grief is often accompanied by glittering beauty; and that all we do not understand is more important to making sense of life than what we know. Her story, as well as Jacks story, is gorgeous, bold and true, and no one will be unchanged in reading it."
Stacy Morrison, Editor in Chief, BlogHer; author of Falling Apart in One Piece
"This is not a book; it is a kaleidoscope. With every turn of the page, a new discovery is made that forever alters your view of pain, joy, heartache, time, hope, and healing. As I journeyed through Annas divinely written prose, I found myself unable to stand by as a passive recipient of her message. I needed to act. Because of Anna and Jack, I talked with my child about heaven. I walked around the pools edge to sit beside a grieving woman. I looked into the darkest places of my soul and for the first time, I did not look away. If you yearn to stop hiding from that which prevents you from truly living, step into the kaleidoscope that is Rare Bird. Turn the pagewake up, stand up, comfort, love, and live. Turn the pagelet your eyes be opened to the light that exists in whatever darkness you face."
Rachel Macy Stafford, New York Times best-selling author of Hands Free Mama
"A masterpiece of hope, love, and the resilience and ferocity of the human spirit."
From the foreword by Glennon Doyle Melton, Momastery.com; author of Carry On, Warrior
"Rare Bird is not just another well-written story of love, loss, and the aftermath of death, but it is a story that clearly shows the constant presence and grace of a loving God. It gives assurance and comfort to those whose hearts are grieving, and hope to those who are afraid."
Mary C. Neal, MD, New York Times best-selling author of To Heaven and Back
From the Hardcover edition.